30 September 2004

Renault is moving to correct any impression that its Mégane isn’t sporty enough by unveiling a 320bhp, mid-engined Trophy version, lowered by four inches. For now, the Trophy is strictly a race car, but there were strong rumours in Paris – unconfirmed by Renault – that road-going versions of the car could eventually follow. In the meantime, the company is laying on a 16-race series for its new baby across Europe next year. The proposed 28-car race field will come to Donington Park next September as part of a series taking in Monza, Monaco, Zandvoort and Spa. The Mégane Trophy, instantly recognisable by its splitter, low-slung body, ultra-wide wheelarches and rear diffuser, uses a tuned version of the same Renault V6 that powers Renault’s biggest road cars, the Espace and Vel Satis. However, in the Mégane Trophy it is mounted low behind the driver in a specially-fabricated tubular chassis, driving north-south through a paddle-shifting sequential six-speed transaxle. A central electronic control system integrates all engine, gearbox and automatic clutch functions, and includes instrument and data logging functions in classic race-car style.

RenaultSport engineers claim the car’s refined aerodynamics and light weight (950kg) give it a power-to-weight ratio good enough to match some of today’s GTs. The Trophy is available ready to race for about £60,000.

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